Building the Perfect Truck Stereo System: What You Need to Know

The right truck stereo system can provide you with many hours of entertainment on the road. Choosing the right components for your sound system can ensure maximum volume and fidelity for your audio tracks. Determining the relative power and performance of audio equipment, however, can be a tricky proposition. Manufacturers and marketers may be less than completely honest when describing their components and systems. Additionally, the lack of consistent standards for automotive audio equipment may create difficulties in determining which components can be used together to create the most accurate sound reproduction and loudest volumes for your truck. Consulting an established Houston retailer of truck accessories can provide you with expert guidance in designing your stereo system. Here are some helpful tips for creating the right sound system for your Texas truck.

RMS Ratings

One of the most critical elements in determining the performance of your truck stereo system, root mean square (RMS) ratings are used to identify the average continuous power capacity of a component in watts. RMS figures provide a way to match up audio components to ensure optimal performance from the amplifier without overloading and damaging speakers. However, because manufacturers may use different methods for calculating RMS for amplifiers, speakers and other audio equipment, you may need to look at the base figures from which RMS ratings are derived to ensure the right match between your truck audio components:

  • The Consumer Electronics Association has established a voluntary standard for measuring RMS and signal-to-noise ratings, known within the industry as Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). Unfortunately, many audio component manufacturers establish a baseline for these ratings by using 14.4 voltage; truck batteries are generally rated at 12 volts and cannot reliably produce the voltage used to generate these figures. By reducing the RMS rating by approximately one-fifth, you can often achieve more realistic ratings figures when determining the right mix of components.
  • In most cases, noise distortion levels increase with volume. Signal-to-noise ratings are factored in when determining RMS levels; however, these ratings may be skewed by manufacturers to conceal or minimize the loss of fidelity and the increase of THD at these higher volumes. Although a 1 percent THD rating may seem insignificant, it can have a major impact on sound quality and is generally unacceptable for most music lovers. Consider the rating of the component at one-tenth of one percent or less when determining if amplifiers, speakers and other components will work well together.
  • Some manufacturers avoid the use of RMS ratings altogether and instead use peak ratings, which measure the top end performance of components over a short period of time. Peak ratings are not generally indicative of the performance of speakers or amplifiers and cannot be used in the same way to determine compatibility. Additionally, peak ratings should not be compared directly with RMS ratings when deciding on the components for your truck systems.
  • Electrical resistance is measured in ohms and typically increases as more speakers are added to the system. Amplifiers can produce more wattage from the same amount of voltage at lower ohm ratings. RMS ratings can help you match amplifiers with speaker systems of comparable resistance levels.

Creating the right match-ups between amplifiers, speakers and other components of your truck’s sound system can ensure greater fidelity and increased performance from these mobile entertainment systems. Whether you need expert advice on stereo components or truck bedliners, aftermarket Houston truck accessory companies can often provide the information and guidance necessary to achieve the best possible results.

Working with a professional truck accessory company to set up your stereo system can have a major impact on the quality of sound it produces. These Houston companies can offer other customization options as well, including truck lift kits, seat covers, floor mats, bumpers, running boards, winches, and other accessories designed specifically to suit your vehicle. By consulting with these knowledgeable professionals, you can ensure the beauty and functionality of your hard-working truck.

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